Fresh is key

I have one day off a week, Sunday. I do a lot of things on Sundays – different things every week, for sure. But one thing I do religiously is make fresh salsa – two types. The first type is what I would consider to be the traditional, spice-it-up-to-almost eye-watering-level salsa. Here’s how it’s made:

3 medium size, fresh, ripe tomatoes

3 jalepeno peppers (No. 7 on the grocery store chart of “hotness”) – with seeds, please

1 package mild salsa mix – found next to the tomatoes and the avocados in the grocery store

Process these items in a food processor

Then chop and add sweet onions, green bell or sweet red fresh peppers and about a 1?4 cup of fresh (absolutely must be fresh) cilantro and about a 1?2 teaspoon of cumin (good cumin). That’s it. This version will make about a week’s worth and I would highly recommend that you buy the multi-grain tortilla chips to go with it.

The other salsa I make is for me. I am the wimp in the family. This salsa can differ slightly from week to week, but it is made like this:

1 very ripe tomato, chopped

1 mostly ripe avocado, chopped

Chopped sweet onion, and chopped sweet pepper (any color)

Chopped mango (about 1?2 as much mango as sweet peppers)

Black beans

Fresh cilantro (generous) and good cumin

Several good squirts of fresh lime, and sea salt/pepper to taste

I prefer this on the multi-grain “scoops.”

Like Sharon Rose (see page 13), when I think of Mexican food – other than salsa – I think of meat, rice, beans and cheese. How we cook and serve these is a serious matter of personal preference. For me, it’s about finding the freshest ingredients possible and rolling them up in a tortilla and wolfing them down. I also love quesadillas, but am often (rightly) accused of trying to stuff too much into them. I put refried beans, saute?ed mushrooms/onions/peppers, chicken and cheese in a “Hungry-Man” portion into one small tortilla. Doesn’t work. So, I give this job to the hungry man in my house, who is a better quesadilla maker than me.

Enjoy this issue of Food Etc., devoted to Mexican food. Let us know your favorite recipes, and as always, give us a thumbs-up on Facebook and stay in touch with us in between issues.

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